Tag Archives: david blackburn

David Blackburn OBE 1931-2017

My father died last month. Not the way I’d want to start a piece for Lib Dem Voice, but that’s the fact of the matter. And after mulling it over for a while (and being very occupied with everything such a bereavement entails), I thought it would be relevant to write about him here.

Like his father before him, and his son after him (me), David Blackburn stood as a Liberal (Democrat) Parliamentary Candidate. He fought Brentford and Isleworth in West London in 1974; I remember campaigning for him as a 16 year old and I still have the press cuttings. He was a very successful car importer and as a result was a significant party donor too. Wealthy enough to send me to boarding school where I was the only Liberal in a Tory hotbed.

I wasn’t just a Liberal because my dad was. I was keenly interested in politics and soaked up all the literature. I passionately believed in what I read. There were parallels in the seventies with conditions now – economic challenges, a growing threat from the far right. My father was deeply pro-Europe and stood for the European Parliament as well – the slogan on his election address states ‘Make Britain Great in Europe’. Quite possibly a stronger message than any we used in the referendum! His literature appeals directly to young people, and “oppose(s) all forms of discrimination and demand(s) equal opportunities for women”. These values ran and run through my blood.

I’m proud to say it goes back even further than that. I admit to being something of a hoarder (to the frustration of my wife) and I have my grandfather’s election literature too. He stood in Islington East before WWII and in Chippenham and Calne just after the war; his manifesto speaks of a ‘National Housing Policy’ to build affordable homes, protecting leasehold tenants and among other issues proportional representation! Plus ca change. After he’d had a stroke and while I was studying at the LSE, I used to visit his flat and we’d talk politics and read his books together; it was he who taught me about Beveridge and the five evils.

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